Waterford School History
The history of education in Waterford did not begin with the present public school system. When the Commonwealth of Virginia established free schools in 1871, the children of Waterford had benefited from private schools for more than a century. Basically a Quaker community, the Society of Friends was always conscious of a good education for their children. In providing for their own, they did not exclude those of other faiths from their schools.
As least five buildings still stand today in Waterford that once housed schools. The oldest is the small brick building at the rear of the Meeting House. The exact date of this building is unknown, but it is believed to have been used as a school in the latter part of the eighteenth century. In remodeling this structure a few years ago, it was found that blackboards had been painted on the walls. Some of the desks from this school are now in the possession of Mrs. O. Wayne Parsons.
Miss Mary Ratcliff operated a school in the home now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ray O’Donnell. Miss Hanna Whorley taught classes as early as 18325 in the present home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wilson. The brick building on the farm of Dr. and Mrs. W.T. Burch was built by James Walker for his son to operate a school The last school sponsored by the Friends stands on the property of Mrs. John Payette.
Six years after the General Assembly of Virginia passed a public school bill, action was taken to bring public education to Waterford. In 1877, Edwin A. Atlee sold one and one half acres of land bounded by High Street and Butchers Row to Robert J.T. White, Owen Thomas, and D.H. VanDevanter, school trustee for the Jefferson District, for the sum of $350.
The cost of this building and the identity of the first teachers do not appear in the records; however, the records do reveal that, for the session of 1886-87, the faculty was comprised of Alma Karstetter, Ella Steer, and Jeanette Lewis, with a high enrollment of 82 and a low of 66.
For the term 1904-05, we are given some insight to current salaries: Virginia Tayor, Principal: $42 per month; Minnie El Russell and Mary Shawen, teachers, were each paid $27.
The first building was destroyed by fire in February 1909. The custodian, in cleaning the coal stoves, left a bucket of hot ashes sitting on the wooden floor, thus starting a fire that soon consumed the building. Classes were held in the basement of the Baptist Church until the new building was completed. This building, erected on the site of the old one, was ready for occupancy for the 1910-11 term, with R.H. Snodgrass as principal.
The imposing new structure was built at a cost of $6,000, with funds from the following sources: private donations, $1,500; insurance from the old building, $1,350; and from the Literary Fund, $2,772.50. Records do not show other funds. In 1928, an auditorium was built adjacent to the schoolhouse, and in 1948, a kitchen was constructed, joining these two buildings.
Many changes have taken place in the years since the first school opened in Waterford. From the three-room, seven grade school, it progressed to a full four year high school course, and then back to seven grades again, and in 1971 to a five grade system. The District School Trustee system was replaced by one School Board which handles problems on a county-wide level.
John D. Divine, Historian
On December 6, 1965, the current Waterford School was dedicated. H. Wendell Kline, then chairman of the Loudoun County School Board, offered the dedication, and the Rev. Charles Talley blessed the building. Principal H.L. Lowry conducted the tour of the new building. In 1975, kindergarten was added to the school.
Principals of Waterford School following H.L. Lowry have been: Eliza Myers (1969-1971), Thomas Woodall (1971-1974), Andrea Bull (1974-1976), Delores Cale (1976-1977), Sharon Ackerman (1977-1980), Louis Tiano (1980-1983), William Prokopchak (1983-1986), Mary Morris (1986-1991), Wayne Thompson (1991-1992), V. Joyce Smith (1992-1997), Paul Vickers (1997-2000), Leslie Walker (2000), Randy Morgan (2000-2001), Dr. Patricia Lynn (2001-2009), Dr. Ricardy Anderson (2009-2014), Andrew Heironimus (2014-Present).